Feeling Sadness and Finding Glory

Farm life taught us some hard lessons last week. The kind that break your heart. Seasoned farm owners say this comes with the territory, but that doesn't make it any easier to endure when you're all new at this. We're learning the hard way. {Is there any other way?}

We lost four animals in one week. {Three of them three days in a row.} The girls stared death in the face...with tears, confusion, heartache and bravery. This wasn't part of the dream, but it's part of life.

On Sunday...
we lost Ladybird to Marek's disease.
{Tried to nurse her back to health, but this virus is incurable.}

On Monday...
we lost a duck to an owl.
{Our clue was the tuft of feathers left behind.}

On Tuesday...
we lost another duck. Probably to a weasel.
{Gruesome. They take the head and leave the body.}

Down to six ducks from our original 10.

And then to add to our sadness that day,
Buddy and Bella "played" too roughly with one of the ducks.
It survived, but it was traumatized {and missing a good number of feathers}.

When will these huge puppies be ready to assume their role as guardians?

Well, we didn't have time to find out. It was either put them to work and risk something going terribly wrong...or lose an entire flock to the predators who would surely return. {Gulp.} This is what these dogs were made to do: to protect against predators. So we looked our puppies in the eyes and said, "You were made for this! You can do it!"

We put Buddy in the barnyard area with the ducks and chickens, and left Bella in the front pasture to guard against anything sneaking under the barn. There was lots of barking that night...the deep, I spy a predator bark. And in the morning...

...all animals were alive and well! Way to go puppies!!! {I love seeing people, or in this case puppies, doing what God created them to do.} 

After their first night on the job,
Buddy and Bella were exhausted!

We've put them to work every night since and haven't lost a single bird to predators. But sadly, we lost another chicken on Saturday...to the same highly contagious, fatal, incurable virus. We're praying we don't lose the whole flock. Though that's very possible and likely. {Wish we had known to ask for vaccinated chicks!}

We lost Morning Glory on Saturday.
{Heartbreaking to watch her deteriorate all week.}

Looking back, I can tell she wasn't well.

Morning Glory on the left. 
See how her neck is all tucked in? That's one way I can tell now.
{All three chickens have looked the same way as they deteriorated.}

In the last week, we experienced the full spectrum of emotions. There was victory {the dogs doing their job} and defeat {the predators}. There was joy and there was sorrow. We're learning how to hold both in our hearts. And that, my friends, is perhaps the greatest lesson of all: learning to hold opposing emotions in your heart together and at once. {Some say this is what makes you emotionally whole.}

If we don't learn to hold both, our hearts grow cold and hardened or downcast and melancholy. {Both extremes leave us less than what we were meant to be. Less whole hearted and less alive.} One way I fight against the extremes is by finding glimpses of glory in everyday life. {That's what my blog is all about. It's why I bother picking up my camera each day.}

Here are a few glimpses of glory amidst the hardship:

A daddy daughter date.

Covered in chick love.

Me napping in the barn with the dogs.

Leading the ducks out to the pond for the first time.

They freaked out.
{Not ready for all that freedom!}

Leading the ducks back to the barn.

We call this one Mister.
{No clue if it's a male of female, but it has the attitude of a rooster!}

So there you have it: real life on a farm. Not all glorious all the time, but glory sprinkled in if you have eyes to see it. Sometimes glory takes your breath away; sometimes it's hidden between layers of sadness and hardship. The same is true for you. I hope you'll find the glory in this week...whatever comes your way.



  1. Linsey... what a heart wrenching, honest post. What incredible lessons your beautiful girls are learning. Your photos are beautiful and your lessons in life are so well articulated. So sorry for your losses.

  2. Ditto Katie above. Wisdom comes to those who seek it in all circumstances.

    Smiles for the days ahead!
    xo, Nicole

  3. Linsey- I needed this reminder. So hard to keep from swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other, and to find joy in the midst of the hard. You are so strong. I'm thankful you share these moments.

  4. oh linsey girl....beautiful post of the tender moments in your life. your images are spectacular...even the napping one!!

  5. Oh sweet friend...what a week. I totally understand the emotions of "farm life". We have lost so many chickens over the last few years it seems and poor sweet Faith is usually the one who finds them dead. It truly did traumatize her in the beginning. She even got to where she could hardly go outside alone. She and we have gotten a little more used to it when we lose one of our chickens but it is still hard. We recently lost our favorite rooster, Boots, to a coon. We have lost them to pit bulls, opossums, and other predators.

    I am so happy that your beautiful dogs are learning their jobs. You can sleep better knowing they are being protectors. How thankful are we that we can sleep at night knowing that our Protector is watching over us!!

    Blessings sweet friend. Keep napping in that barn...

  6. Linsey,

    Thank you so much for the beautiful post today! I really needed the reminder to find the glory even while dealing with stress and heartache.

    I struggle to find the happiness when things seem overwhelming and sometimes in a state of chaos! I am living my farm life through you - I thank you so very much for sharing!

    I have desperately wanted chickens for a while now, but I know of the horrible things that can happen with predators - of which we have them all! My neighbor has had sooo much trouble - the latest incident taking her entire flock, by a raccoon.

    I truly admire your spirit and determination! You go girl!

    Thank you again so much for sharing your life with us all!


  7. I'm so sorry. I have such a tender heart for animals--know you and your girls do, too. I have lost two little bitty baby birds {finches} from the sweet nest in my backyard. They weren't even my pets--and I was heartbroken! Praying over you this week. So, so, so proud of your puppies! Much love!!!

  8. You have such a way with words...I have never thought of it this way and it so true! So sorry to hear about your sweet animals. I do love how you find the glory...the pictures of the ducks going to the pond are great!

  9. You guys are learning so much about real life on that beautiful farm.
    I have so many of the same memories....our small farm kind of grew me up.
    feeding the cows and the chickens and the pigs and spending summers working in our garden...so many memories.

    you do a wonderful job of finding the glory..love the one of the chicks all over your oldest. :)
    and the last shot? priceless.

  10. Despite the roller coaster of emotions, what an amazing fulfilling life you are living!

    1. Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!! :)


  11. You seem to have been sad ever since you left Houston. I hope you either move back, or find happiness there! Sincere happiness!

    concerned reader in Texas

  12. Sorry for your losses. That was a lot in one week.

    Your pictures are awesome though and record such happiness in your lives enjoying country life and the farm animals. I see two that would be great in a frame.


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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